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How-to Tuesday: Stay Motivated

How-to Tuesday: Stay Motivated

I realize I’ve been pretty lax lately.  The Ht-T has been the only post for the past few weeks, but that’s all going to change, very soon.  With this post, not only do I hope to get you motivated, but after a decent break from working on models, I’m hoping to motivate myself as well.

One of the biggest hurdles people face as they work on their models is staying motivated.  All too often I hear excuses like “I just have so much, I don’t know where to start,” or “I’m just a slow painter,” or even worse, “I’m no good, so why even try?”

Conquering the Mountain of Pewter

Having a huge collection of models is the bane of faction-aholics everywhere.  I’m one of them – I have enough models to run 35pt lists with almost every faction.  While that’s impressive, nearly none of it is painted.  That, good sir/madam, is the problem.

All too often, I see painting tables that look like this:

144artist's Painting Table

This is way too cluttered.  It’s no wonder folks with desks like this have issues trying to get stuff done.  Sure, you may know where everything is, but the amount of stuff looming – trying to get its turn for your attention – is just daunting.  You’ll get pulled between projects, and you’ll always get distracted by the newest bit of shiny.

The solution is a simple one:  Clear off your desk.

I let my desk get messy when assembling models, since I usually do that in batches.  I’ll assemble an entire army before putting all my assembly tools away and getting out paints.  When I’m painting, however, everything but what I’m painting and a reference model are put away.  Out of sight, out of mind is a cliché for a reason.  It works.  Try it and see.  (Plus, your significant other will love the fact that you’ve cleaned up!)

Finding Time to Paint

It doesn’t matter how quickly you paint, it still takes time.  Between friends, family, other hobbies and work, and sleep, it can be difficult to find time to paint models. How do you combat this?

  • Every Bit Counts – Every time you walk by your table, paint for a few minutes.  Just try to get 10 minutes in every night.  Over time, you’ll have quite a bit done!
  • Make Time –  Schuedule some time on a specific night or nights for your modeling.  Fit it into your schedule, and let the people that would be vying for your time know you have some personal time scheduled.
  • Double Up – Work painting into some other chore.  What do you do while you’re doing laundry?  Homework?  Watch TV?  It can’t be something terribly important, since you’re getting interrupted every 30 minutes or so, right?  So paint during that downtime!  If you have an existing distraction, trade off with painting every so often.  30 minutes of homework, 30 minutes of painting.

Practice Makes Perfect

It's not a blog post without a LOLcat

Thinking you aren’t good at painting is fine.  Everyone’s a critic.  Letting that defeat you is an entirely different ball game.

Not painting is the best way to not get better at painting.  Sure, your stuff may look horrible now, but it’s worse not being painted at all, and the only way to get better is to keep trying.

Get Feedback.  No one likes hearing about what was done wrong on a model, or why someone thinks it isn’t fantastic.  Despite that, understanding why something didn’t work and learning some methods to do it better is how you learn, expand your knowledge base and grow as a painter.

Stick with it.

View Comments (8)
  • Nice post! I’ve gotten my motivation back after being burned out from the holidays and other things. You should be getting a few posts from me here soon!


    • Yeah, I’ve been a build-aholic lately. I have a Khador list I’m itching to try, but I had to re-build almost all my models since I’m no longer allowing myself to play with the Pink Khador models. They need to be touched up and sealed so I can get ready to auction them!


  • I hear ya! I was burned out from the holidays and have been pretty lax on my painting myself. Getting Skyrim for Christmas certainly didn’t help.

    All that is going to change soon! I want to finish my Khador before Meg Maples class! I feel I’m like 50% there…


    • I’m looking forward to that class. I also hear Skyrim is amazing – I wish they’d made a version for the Wii – that would have been awesome. Sadly, I don’t think my PC could handle it…

      Perhaps it’s time to buy a 360? Someone twist my arm… Please?


  • I like those tips alot, especially the out of sight part. I have a closet that has all of my un painted or unassmebled stuff in, and it helps a lot.


    • Oh yes arm twisted…. great system. My brothers got me one for Christmas. No skyrim yet but Space Marines was a ton of fun and inspired me to pick up my unfinished blood angels…. I just wish 40k(tabletop) was fun for me, love the fluff and models.


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